It's clear that Hawaii's new political star is Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Like the late Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink before her, Gabbard is not afraid to speak her mind and take a position, even if it goes against the sentiment of the majority of the Democratic Party.
Amid one of the craziest election seasons ever, Rep. Gabbard's office last week announced that she has signed on as cosponsor to House Joint Resolution 48, proposing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution providing that the rights extended by the document are the rights of natural persons only.
The proposed amendment also restores the right of federal, state and local governments to regulate campaign spending, declaring that such spending is not protected speech under the First Amendment.
Enactment of HJR 48 would effectively reverse a series of Supreme Court rulings, including the 2010 Citizens United decision, that have effectively removed the possibility of government regulation of unlimited campaign spending, and overturn numerous Supreme Court rulings establishing the doctrine that corporations are entitled to the Constitutional rights of natural persons.
According to Congresswoman Gabbard's staff, "The proposed amendment has been called the reform that makes all other reforms possible."
The amendment is part of a ten-year strategic plan leading to ratification. The national grassroots organization Move to Amend, supported by hundreds of local and national organizations, is spearheading this effort.
Move to Amend noted, "On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions."
Ratification of a Constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote of Congress and approval by 38 states. Given the influence of big business in Congress, it will likely be an uphill battle. Rep. Gabbard deserves credit for trying.